COVID-19 update for correctional employees: Thank you message

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.

My thanks

We just took time this week to recognize and honour those who have served – and continue to serve – Canada in times of war, conflict, and peace. It is also an important time to reflect on the many things we are grateful for. I often think about the past 20 months and what it has meant for our organization and all of you. You have done great work, but I also recognize that it has been a tremendously busy and turbulent time for many of you, both professionally and personally.

I began my 39th year with CSC in October and I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and say thank you for everything you do. I have had the pleasure of working with many great people in a number of different locations across the country. Our people at CSC are hardworking, passionate, dedicated professionals who “autograph their work with excellence.” I want to emphasize that the work you do is critical. It is essential to remember that the important role we play, though not always acknowledged, is integral to what is most valued in Canadian society: our freedom and our public safety. We need to keep in mind that as members of CSC, we are held to a very high standard. Canadians both depend on and expect us to do our very best to fulfill our mandate in contributing to public safety.

I want to take this opportunity to commend the many groups of talented and dedicated individuals who make up the staff of the CSC. It is a daunting task to list every single working group in the country in as large an organization as CSC. Therefore, in acknowledging the tremendous work each of you do, I have tried to be as inclusive as possible.   

Elders and Chaplains

You are the heart and soul of CSC. In the most difficult and trying times, for both offenders and staff, as well as on a day-to-day basis, you provide compassionate understanding and a healing presence. Your ability to listen and share your experiences, knowledge, and wisdom is invaluable in helping offenders on their path to rehabilitation.

To our Institutional and Community Parole and Program Officers: Not only are you one of the most important facilitators of positive change, the work you do is essential in enabling CSC to determine that an offender is at the right place at the right time in their sentence. Providing offenders with opportunities and resources to make positive changes and helping them complete their sentence without returning to crime can be a tall order. Nevertheless, it is a mandate each of you fulfill with creativity and professionalism.

Correctional Officers and Primary Workers

You are often the unsung heroes of CSC—our “officers on the beat.” We rely on you to gain the respect of offenders and motivate them to want to make positive changes in their lives. You do this best by being role models, and by being honest, humane, and fair in your dealings with offenders, even when faced with extremely challenging situations.

Correctional Managers

Your enormous contribution does not go unnoticed. After hours and over the weekends, you provide an essential role in bringing leadership and guidance under what can be extremely difficult circumstances. We depend on you to motivate and provide direction to the correctional staff in order to ensure that our institutions are run in the most professional and effective manner possible.

Health Care Professionals

The reason CSC is known around the world as being on the cutting edge of innovation in the field of corrections, particularly in areas such as risk assessment, as well as the mental and physical health care of offenders, is because of the phenomenal work you do. In international professional circles, your work is viewed with great respect and admiration. You have shown leadership in an exceptionally challenging time: the COVID-19 pandemic. Your dedication, perseverance, and innovative thinking has made CSC stand out as a leader and early adopter in the area of testing, infection prevention and control, and vaccination rollout.

Supervisors, Managers, Area Directors, and Assistant Wardens / Directors

Whether you are in operations, interventions, or management services, in an institution or in the community, you each play a critical role. In addition to your role as mentors, you are also the guardians of CSC’s quality control. After work passes through your hands, it lands on the desk of senior decision-makers who rely on your insight and expertise to make the most informed decisions possible. You contribute and support our organization in so many ways – we lean on you as our problem-solvers, leaders, and role models.

Deputy Wardens and Assistant District Directors

You are the person in charge when your Warden or District Director is absent. In your role as second-in-command, we appreciate just how demanding your job can be. As the go-to person in your areas of responsibility, you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening. You are our leaders of tomorrow.

Cleaners and Custodians

You have worked tremendously hard over the last 20 months to ensure our institutions and offices across the country are operational, clean, and sanitized, putting the health and safety of staff, offenders, and the public first. To this day, your work is a key infection prevention and control measure to prevent the spread of illness. Your work has directly impacted our ability to keep each other, and those in our care, safe and healthy. It also creates welcoming environments that allow everyone to put their best foot forward.

Facilities, Maintenance, Institutional, and Food Services Staff

Our institutions could not function without you. Rain or shine, day or night, you keep our institutions operating around the clock. Thanks to your efforts, expertise, and hard work, we are able to create welcoming, clean, healthy, and functional environments that allow everyone to thrive.

CORCAN, Educational, and Vocational Staff

As teachers and mentors, your role is to equip offenders with the necessary knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the community. You teach them what they need to know in order to become self-supporting, independent, and contributing members of the community.

Information Technology, OMS, Volunteer, Administrative, and Support Staff

You are the supporting cast that makes everything come together. You facilitate communication throughout CSC and enable our respective departments to achieve optimal success. During the pandemic, your ability to turn on a dime, innovate, and problem-solve allowed our workforce to continue achieving results. And to our volunteer managers and coordinators, we are richer for the involvement of outside help and expertise. Thanks to your role, our volunteers and partners make an enormous and diverse contribution to corrections.

HR and Finance Staff

As our HR professionals, you contribute to public safety by recruiting, hiring, and staffing the very best candidates for positions across the country. You also develop numerous initiatives that help us change in positive ways – and build the inclusive, diverse, and equitable organization that we strive for. You also ensure we retain staff by ensuring they are compensated in a timely manner and that they work in a safe and healthy environment. Thank you for making it possible for us to do business, follow policy, and meet our obligations.

Regional Headquarters Departments and District Support Staff

In providing support and advice to our front-line staff, like a good referee, your role is to let the ‘play’ continue, intervening only when required, and enabling everyone to learn from their experiences. You play a key role in supporting others and by offering your knowledge and experience. They lean on you, as does NHQ, to keep our regional operations strong.

Union representatives

The important role you play in identifying and assisting CSC to resolve labour relations issues that arise helps us create a safe, secure, and respectful work environment. Your commitment and willingness to collaborate to help us resolve issues are greatly appreciated. I am especially grateful for union involvement in our advisory committee and working groups related to our COVID-19 response and integrated risk management framework. This collaboration has been truly beneficial in helping to protect everyone’s health and safety.

National Headquarters Staff

You are experts in your field and your advice is important. We are a large organization and your ability to provide leadership, guidance, and expertise within our many sectors is exemplary. Thank you to our people in policy, corporate services, operations, audit, women’s sector, health services, human resources, executive services, international, protocols, IMIT, restorative opportunities, victims, and values and ethics. I would also like to thank our communications and engagement staff (both at NHQ and in the regions) – during the pandemic, communicating has been more important than ever and your steady and timely work to manage our reputation, build relationships, communicate ubiquitously, and tell our story. This has helped tremendously in keeping everyone informed, and in demonstrating transparency.

Executive Committee

As the leadership of CSC, I deeply appreciate your ongoing dedication, commitment, and support. You have lead your teams exceptionally well during one of the most trying times in history. I am appreciative of how we continue to move forward with such gumption.

I will also note that we have many advisory committees, Indigenous groups, and volunteers who participate in our business and contribute an external perspective to our work. I am thankful for their contributions. I tried to be as inclusive as possible – hopefully I did not miss any groups. I am truly grateful for the excellent work you all do to help us meet our mandate. Thank you for your dedication and professionalism, for upholding high work ethic standards and values, and for going above and beyond in your efforts to keep Canadian communities safe.

“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.” 

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